By Nicola Traynor
For one sweet mama kitten, it didn’t matter that the kittens weren’t her own. She was happy to accept them into her litter and help nurse them.
When Melissa took in a pair of young foster kittens, she struggled to get them to eat. The kittens were found alone in an abandoned car. After she took them in, the two baby cats wouldn’t drink their formula.
Melissa documented the process with video as she tried to care for them. “They won’t take it. And I can’t figure it out,” said Melissa in her video. At the same time, she was also fostering Mya, now a 5-year-old orange tabby, and her litter.
Initially, Melissa kept Mya’s litter separate from the two kittens. When the kittens continued to not eat, she decided to introduce them to Mya. She still kept the litters separate, but slowly introduced the kittens to Mya and alternated her between the groups of kittens.
“We’re going to keep them separate in here, and see if Mama will feed them. Then put Mama back and forth,” said Melissa in the video.
As Melissa took video of the process, she was able to capture the moment the kittens and Mya accepted each other and the kittens began to nurse. The cats were tentative at first. Mya gazed up at the camera nervously, and Melissa said, “Mama’s scared.” Eventually Mya moved towards the kitties and they began to sniff each other. The kittens perked up, likely smelling Mya’s milk.
“Can you feed these babies?” Melissa asked Mya. As she started to snuggle up to the kittens, Melissa cooed, “She is the freaking best cat ever.”
As Mya started to hesitantly warm up to the kitties, Melissa assured her, “Don’t worry, I’ll take you back to your own.
Initially the babies wouldn’t latch, despite Mya’s affection. Finally they got hungry enough and latched to Mya. Once they began to latch, they eagerly nursed as Melissa celebrated.
The video was posted on March 21, 2018, and the kittens are doing great now that they’ve been well-fed and have cat mama Mya and human mama Melissa looking out for them.
You can keep up with Melissa, Mya, and her other cats on Instagram at MaxluvsMya.
Are Female Cats Really That Maternal?
According to The Nest, the failure rate is high when humans try to care for orphaned kittens, as they will often turn down bottle feeding.
But if there’s a nursing cat mom around, she will often accept the orphans into her litter and help care for them and even feed them.
Even if they aren’t nursing or haven’t given birth to a litter, female cats are known for having strong maternal instincts. Numerous accounts from people fostering have shown that female cats are eager to take in and care for other kittens.
Some maternal instincts are so strong that there have even been accounts of mother cats reuniting with their babies in extraordinary circumstances. A veterinary clinic in New Zealand found a box of kittens left at their doorstep and brought them in to care for them in an incubator. The next day, their tabby cat mother appeared, trying to enter the clinic. The clinic thinks it’s likely the mother jumped out of the box when it was first dropped off and then waited outside after she saw her babies go into the clinic!